The Lynch List, 30-Sep-2011

September 30, 2011

First: Xtra reports that gay activists are asking the CHRC to investigate the National Post over an advertisement that asks Ontario lawmakers to stop confusing little children over their sexuality.

In an open letter to the National Post, Cliks lead singer Lucas Silveira writes that he is asking the Ontario Human Rights Commission to pursue a hate propaganda investigation against the Post and the Institute for Canadian Values over the ad. Current interpretations of Canadian human rights legislation tend to exclude consideration of advertisements in the media, according to Silveira’s lawyer.

Make up your own mind as to whether the ad is fair comment or not, but either way there should be no state interference in the debate. Activist Chase Joynt has the right idea:

Trans activist Chase Joynt was quick to respond to the ad by creating a spoof of it with his own face in place of the little girl’s.

…but is highly hypocritical on another point…

“I thought it was manipulative to use the face of a small child,” he says.

…as if it isn’t incredibly manipulative to be using the school system to inculcate values in small children that are contrary to their parents’ values.

Second: The Calgary Herald editorial board says scrap the Tribunal, but keep the Commission. Give yer head a shake.

It’s not the commission that needs to scrapped, it’s the human rights tribunal system that is flawed, and there is a difference. The commission does valuable work.

Third: The National Post editorial board on Storseth’s private member’s bill that will (hopefully) spell the demise of Section 13:

As Mr. Storseth’s private member’s bill makes its way through the House of Commons, there will be those who insist vociferously that the fight against hate speech is too important to permit the deep-sixing of Sec. 13. But in fact, the censorship provisions in human-rights legislation actually handicap the fight against truly dangerous bigotry, because they make the whole exercise seem like a politically correct sham, and thereby weaken public support.

Fourth: Ontario mental health organizations provide the latest in a long line of indications that the OHRC is making its own Charter (emphasis mine):

Housing is a fundamental right that all persons are entitled to and that is protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code (Ontario Human Rights Commission, 2010).

Silly me. Here I thought the only fundamental rights in our constitution were negative ones, not positive ones.

Fifth: New BCHRT head Berndt Walter is at least injecting a modicum of sanity into the Tribunal that has been the butt of all speechie jokes for years running. In brief, an employee of Kamloops Correctional Centre already has an opportunity to file a grievance through her union, and yet she filed a parallel complaint with the BCHRT. Mr. Walter told her to stop double-dipping.

Sixth: Imagine this. A university newspaper actually allowed an opinion piece that, in addition to opposing abortion and supporting parental rights in education, calls for the abolition of the Ontario Human Rights Commission. Here I thought universities, their student unions, and their newspapers were the bastion of left-wing groupthink, censorship, and agitprop. Will wonders never cease!

Human rights commissions are very anti-democratic institutions, and anyone that wishes to preserve the rights possessed by individuals in a liberal democracy should seek to elect candidates who do not support its agenda.


The Lynch List, 28-Sep-2011

September 28, 2011

Lots of big news to talk about today.

First: MP Brian Storseth says he’ll introduce a private member’s bill that would repeal Section 13. It looks like Storseth has done his homework and is saying all the right things:

But the difference is that in a court there is the openness and transparency, which you don’t have through the human rights tribunal. In a tribunal, a person can lay a complaint, but doesn’t not have to have their name attached to it. There’s no cost or expense to the person putting the complaint forward, no matter how frivolous that complaint might be. And it violates the fundamental right of an accused to face his accuser. At the end of the day, all the onus and costs are put on the defendant and this should not the basis of our justice system.

Second: Hard to believe that this one doesn’t merit a “first”, but here it is. A former Brantford police officer has launched a human rights complaint after the police force threatened to discipline him – for smoking crack cocaine while on duty.

Const. Jeffrey Servos, a former six-year cop with Brantford Police, pleaded guilty to one count of possessing cocaine in 2009 and was also slapped with 16 Police Services Act charges.

He resigned from the force in 2009 after a series of plea bargains rather than serving three months in jail. The police act charges were withdrawn after he resigned.

Convenient. He resigns to get the police act charges dropped, and only then complains that he wants his job back.

Today, the Tribunal issued a ruling that stated that he couldn’t get a job back that he voluntarily resigned from, but helpfully suggested that he re-file his complaint alleging discrimination and failure to accommodate his disability while he was working. Glad to see that the Tribunal is looking out for the interests of illegal drug abusers masquerading as cops…

Third: This one should also merit a first. The leader of Alberta’s Wildrose Party has pulled a Hudak and backtracked on her party’s earlier resolution to unequivocally protect free speech rights. Kevin Libin isn’t happy:

But Ms. Smith is just the latest in a pageant of politicians that have pushed back against their parties in getting tough on HRCs. When even the most avowed conservative party leader looks at the prospect of stripping down human rights rules to categorically protect all kinds of speech, even the unpleasant sort, they all, it seems, ultimately get an irresistible chill in their feet.

Fourth: National Post reporter Joseph Brean has put together a handy-dandy “Section 13  for Dummies“. But he mentioned Richard Warman’s name. Get ready for a lawsuit, Joseph.

Fifth: Rick Dykstra, MP for St. Catherines, reiterated his stance that the Canadian Human Rights Commission needs to be reformed. Too bad you couldn’t make it part of your government’s omnibus crime legislation, Rick.

Sixth: The Jehovah’s Witness publication “The Watchtower” printed an article that compares apostates to the “mentally diseased”. This is already being investigated in Britain, and others are looking to launch human rights complaints here in Canada over it.


The Lynch List, 26-Sep-2011

September 26, 2011

First: An owner of a farmer’s market in London Ontario asked a vendor to remove his transgendered employee, stating that he wants to maintain a family friendly atmosphere.

Oops. Yes, it’s a slam-dunk case that should be filed at the OHRT shortly. Yet the question remains, to what extent can an employer or business owner set dress codes? Businesses have always done that for customers, insisting on “no shirt, no shoes, no service”. Should that extend to “no drag queen attire”?

A petition has started up to boycott the market. To me, that’s a very appropriate response and should put some pressure on the owner to rethink his position, while maintaining the owner’s freedom to do as he pleases with his private property and his freedom to associate with whomever he wishes. But a human rights complaint? Well, I’m sure you know what I think about that.

Second: John Carpay on the Whatcott case:

But Canada’s human rights commissions are so certain of their own opinions that they seek to silence opposing views. As Mill put it: “All silencing of discussion is an assumption of infallibility.”

Not only do human rights prosecutions violate the free speech rights of Whatcott and others, the prosecution of politically incorrect speech also robs Canadians of the benefit of debate and discussion, which is the cornerstone of democracy.

Third: Jim Furey of the Ottawa Sun has a suggestion for Tim Hudak: abolish the OHRC

Here’s a good wrench to toss in: Abolish the Ontario Human Rights Commission. This subjective agency that is answerable to no one, but expects everyone to be answerable to it, is easily one of the largest blights upon Ontario’s recent history. But none of the parties will touch it.

Fourth: A York University professor believes that Starbuck’s application form discriminates when it asks if the applicant is able to work overtime. One’s ability to work overtime may indicate whether they are a member of a designated group, and therefore a question like this shouldn’t be allowed.

Next, he’ll demand a ban on asking for an applicant’s name. After all, that is a clear indication of whether he or she is a member of a designated group. I wonder, what would an application to be Doorey’s teaching assistant look like?

Fifth: File this under “unintended consequences of playing with fire”. Alberta’s Bill 44 enlisted the province’s human rights system as an enforcement mechanism in ensuring the religious freedom of parents is respected when sensitive topics are brought up in school. Now a St Albert man is considering a complaint to stop prayer in all public schools – something that has always been constitutionally exempt from any Charter challenge. You can bet that the Alberta censors will be all over this one should it be filed.


The Lynch List, 21-Sep-2011

September 21, 2011

First: Dr. Chander Grover does us all a favour by getting right to the heart of what the human rights racket is all about – give me money:

Grover said on Tuesday that the NRC should have spent its money on a settlement, rather than on professional help to orchestrate and defend his removal. He called the NRC’s $1 million legal bill “outrageous.”

What is outrageous is that the NRC, which is funded by tax dollars, was forced to spend $1 million in costs to begin with, thanks to a litigious serial complainer who “interpreted every attempt to manage him as a discriminatory act”. But that’s exactly what the complainants want, and exactly what the system is designed to do – pressure respondents to hand over bucketloads of cash to hypersensitive complainants (who must be a member of some protected group) under threat of huge legal costs.

Second: Another instalment in the series, “what to say when someone claims that human rights commissions don’t overstep their mandate”. Barbara Hall’s OHRC has always wanted to add “socioeconomic status” to the list of protected groups. Alas, it is not listed in the very legislation which gives the OHRC its mandate. That doesn’t stop them from including it along with other protected groups in their directives to schools and businesses:

The Ontario Human Rights Commission has added socioeconomic status to its list of factors to be considered when one looks to be inclusionary

Third: Fertility clinics are considering denying treatments to obese women, stating a much higher risk of complications. That’s discrimination, claim those who believe that being obese entitles them to all sorts of accommodations, like two seats on an airline for the price of one. Next up in the human rights tribunal: a morbidly obese woman names God as a respondent for subjecting the obese to increased risk of complications from IVF treatments…

Fourth: Heh. It looks like ridiculous human rights complaints aren’t only a phenomenon of the present. Looks like one offended Scot complained that the OHRC should have banned Monty Python skits back in the 70’s…


The Lynch List, 19-Sep-2011

September 19, 2011

First: The OHRC is soliciting papers on the relationship between human rights and religious freedom. The cynic in me likes to think that this is a whitewash and will be used to further subvert religious freedom with more fake human rights, and continue to subvert general freedom with more religious accommodation.

I also submit that I find fault with the premise of modern secularism: that there can possibly be a person without any religion or creed. Modern secularism seeks to elevate one particular belief system over the rest with the claim that they are areligious.

Second: Several white students at McGill masquerade as Jamaicans – black skin and all – and are now threatened with a human rights complaint. The complainant wants the offenders to be forced to learn about the “historical contributions of Jamaicans”. Besides reducing the human rights system further into a state of infantility, a victory at Qebec’s tribunal will make it a crime for a white person to wear black paint. Maybe it will also be a crime for a white person to get an artificial tan…

Third: The Taxiworkers Association is urging the OHRT to take the “widest possible interpretation of the Code” in order to strike down Toronto’s taxi licensing laws as discriminatory. If the Tribunal does indeed go this route, it would set a dangerous precedent in which any law that imparts derived value could be seen as discriminatory.

For example, any agricultural quota system could be seen as discriminatory if the current quota holders are predominantly white.


The Lynch List, 16-Sep-2011

September 16, 2011

First: A mysterious package showed up at CHRC offices in Ottawa. The whole place was evacuated. Assuming the package was intended to be “mysterious”, this is a juvenile and dangerous prank. Nevertheless, there are no reports of a sudden deluge of human rights violations on the afternoon that the Commission was out of commission…

Second: Another complaint being launched because a woman with a guide dog was evicted from a store. Is the complainant in the right? Yes. Are there far better ways to stand up for your personal rights and freedoms than jetting off to a human rights tribunal? Certainly. Getting your story out in the media is a great start.

Third: At the University of Windsor, it’s quite understandable that professors training social workers do not want some of their lectures recorded. The hope is for class participation, and who would be willing to share difficult personal stories or testimony if they knew they were being recorded?

Enter a disabled man who claims it’s his right (and his only) to record lectures. Off to the OHRT.

Fourth: Larry Hay has rejected settlement offers and is now proceeding to drag Ontario police (and taxpayers) through an expensive process in an attempt to prove his contention that the police force is a “racist organization”. One question I have – who is paying for Peter Rosenthal’s salary? He’s the same defense lawyer that got Shawn Brant off the hook after he blockaded the 401.


The Lynch List, 14-Sep-2011

September 14, 2011

Here’s your Wednesday run-down:

First: An interesting twist to the complaint from the Mohawk policeman fired for his public comments. He first filed a lawsuit, but then dropped it when he figured his chances would be better – and his legal bills much lighter – if he took this matter to a Human Rights Tribunal.

Hay, fired in January 2008 for remarks he made to a journalism student, initially filed a lawsuit, but dropped it in favour of a hearing with an Ontario Human Rights tribunal.

“After careful consultation with counsel, we decided that this was the best venue in which to hear this matter,” Hay said Tuesday, after the day’s negotiations ended.

Nice to have a friendlier (quasi-) judicial system if you can get it.

Second: This case tests the limits of absurdity. Yet absurdity is exactly what the BC Human Rights Tribunal entertains on a regular basis.

A special education teacher (with a generous sick-time benefits package) has been calling in sick for her day job, collecting her public service paycheck, and then working a night job for a second paycheck. When the school fired her for misuse of sick time, she complained to the BCHRT that she only suffers symptoms from her disability in the morning.

Riiiiight.

Third: Can you spot the racist?

After several years of paid and unpaid leave due to PTSD symptoms, Teresa Rush balked at the offers she was given as alternate employment now that she cannot continue working as a firefighter. Claiming that the offers were motivated by racism (she is aboriginal) her first complaint against the City of Richmond was thrown out. But she doubled down on falsely claiming racism and sexism, and launched a second complaint.

The BCHRT has now thrown out her second complaint, citing insufficient evidence. The only one incessantly talking about race is the complainant.


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